The Reciprocal Nature of History, Culture, and Aesthetics and Garment Construction
The Praxis of Material Culture Research. Apr 15—May 10
Reilly Johnson is a graduating senior in Program II as well as a costume technician and designer. For her residency, she will be completing and showcasing her Program II capstone project, The Reciprocal Nature of History, Culture, and Aesthetics and Garment Construction. The primary goal of this project is to test a reciprocal analysis between (theory) traditional methodologies in art history and cultural anthropology and (praxis) the creation of historic garment reproductions as a form of primary research in material culture scholarship. Her project, at its core, is an investigation of the potential role of praxis in humanities-based research, something termed “processual research” in material culture studies. A secondary goal of her project includes an analysis of socially produced durability of certain clothing forms. Why has one form has persisted through surviving museum pieces or continued production in a modern context and others have not?
Johnson will be completing one or two historically accurate garment reproductions from each of two case study cultures, medieval Scotland and Meiji-era Japan. Her accompanying research paper will make use of a layered examination of one specific garment form from each case study. This layered examination will be composed of various theoria, or theory-based material culture analyses, and a praxis, or processual research-based analysis using the experience of constructing her garments. It is her hope that her showcase will illustrate both her research process from start to finish of her Program II as well as the artistry and technical skills involved in the production of each garment. She will be including research photos, sketches, dye samples, stitch tests, and embroidery samples in her gallery. Through the process of making and theory-based analysis, Reilly wants to demonstrate the unique perspective that can be offered by a researcher and maker within the field of material culture scholarship.